Mobile music (music for mobile phones) is a hot sector that's expected to boom in the coming years.
Recently, I had an interesting discussion with musician/businessman, Alex Wong aka Singletrackmind, who remarked that he would only buy mobile music if it's downloadable over the air (OTA) rather than through side-loading (download first to computer then transferred to phone either via wired syncing or Bluetooth).
He remarked that Apple's iPhone (and its tie-up service with Cingular) will surely allow OTA downloads.
As it turns out the iPhone, in its first incarnation, won't be allowing OTA downloads. Here's an extract from a CNET report on this matter:
... the iPhone will operate just like an iPod in that it must be synched to a computer. A Cingular spokesman said that the vast majority of users side-load or load their music from their computers anyway. So he doesn't see the lack of over-the-air downloading as a major issue.
Note that mobile services in the US that allow OTA downloads do charge a premium for this functionality. While iTunes charges 99 cents per song for downloading a song onto a computer, Sprint charges $2.50 per song and Verizon charges $1.99 per song for downloads direct to mobile phones.
Will customers be willing to pay that much more to have songs downloaded directly to their phones? That's the big question everybody has on their mind.